Athlete, Be Worthy of Your Wage
1 Timothy 5:18 (NIV)
For Scripture says, “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain,” and “The worker deserves his wages.”
“For Scripture says, ‘Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain’ and ‘The worker deserves his wages,’” 1 Timothy 5:18 (NIV) (also Deuteronomy 25:4 and Luke 10:7).
Most people really want things to run smoothly. They want things moving forward without a hitch. But hitches so often come whenever labor, money, competition and playing time merge. Right?
And without good coaching on these fronts, both people and plans can slide right into a ditch. Right?
God’s Word has oodles of wise things to say to us about work and wages. Today’s Scripture brings two coaching pointers for us. Let’s take a look.
EMPOWER THE PRODUCTIVE. That’s a modern translation for “Don’t muzzle the ox while it’s plowing.” Things run smoother and more work gets done when humble, talented, industrious people (oxen) are trusted and empowered, undistracted and well led. God boldly says not to “muzzle the ox” while it’s doing its work because we often do.
We “muzzle the ox” when we meddle, micromanage, second guess them. And we muzzle by playing favorites instead of just playing ball. We are warned in 1 Timothy 5 about practicing favoritism. It kills the ox and the harvest.
Industrious, qualified, productive people deserve uninterrupted “playing time” more than your friends deserve it. When it comes to work, favorite people should not be empowered. Productive people should.
WORK YOUR WORTH/WORTH THE WORK. Deserve your playing time. Work every bit of your pay and then some. Put in a good day’s worth. Put in a good day’s work. AND it also means reward others for their work as best you can.
Be great at paying and being paid. Problems surface whenever shortcuts are taken on either score. Then the fields never get fully plowed and eventually people starve.
God’s Word instructs us on these two fronts because we need regular help. We need constant coaching to avoid turnovers in life.
When we fail to forsake favoritism, distract others from their work, or take shortcuts by not honoring others’ pay or deserving our work, teams collapse, disaster strikes, jobs go unfinished, and people suffer. That’s how we turn the ball over. And our turnovers will result in inevitable, painful failure.
Reflect: How much ox-muzzling are you doing? Keeping others from their work? Playing too many favorites? Are you consistently putting in a good day’s work? Are you rewarding others for their good work for you?
A prayer to consider: O Father, thank You for challenging me with Your Word. It really coaches and convicts me. It speaks life.
Help me with my tendencies to muzzle the ox by distracting people from their mission or by playing favorites. Don’t let me live for my comfort or control. And help me to empower the productive, to give more than I receive, and recognize and reward others well in their service to me.
I want a right work focus in life and for all good labor to pay off. Forgive me where I’ve failed You in this regard.
Thank you for Jesus who shows me the way and Your Spirit for empowering me to be all You want me to be. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.